From the Stanford University website: Stanford professor and eminent French theorist René Girard, member of the Académie Française, dies at 91.

. . . In particular, Girard was interested in the causes of conflict and violence and the role of imitation in human behavior. Our desires, he wrote, are not our own; we want what others want. These duplicated desires lead to rivalry and violence. He argued that human conflict was not caused by our differences, but rather by our sameness. Individuals and societies offload blame and culpability onto an outsider, a scapegoat, whose elimination reconciles antagonists and restores unity.

In 2003 Girard was interviewed for Touchstone by Brian McDonald. Violence & the Lamb Slain.

Rene Girard is both one of the twentieth century’s most prominent theorists of culture and a devout Roman Catholic. Born and raised in France, Girard received his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University and has lived and taught for most of his life in America.

He combines a “deconstructionist” and “debunking” analysis of the origins and bases of human culture with an essentially traditionalist affirmation of Christianity. His cultural analysis has been praised by secular critics, even as his insistence that this very analysis should lead to Christian affirmation has shocked them. Christians are pleased that a giant of modernist and postmodernist thought is a solid Christian, but some are disturbed that he seems to “debunk” the propitiatory view of Christ’s death on the Cross. A brief outline of his thought and its development may therefore be useful before presenting the interview. Continue reading.